Council of Europe's State Agency for the Protection of Children's Rights (SAPCR) organized a round table on „Combatting Violence Against Children in Albania“, which was held on 26 March 2015 in Tirana, Albania. Direction of Child Protection Center, Assoc. Prof. Gordana Buljan Flander, PhD, was invited to make a presentation on the topic of sexual violence against children and to give her point of view on what kind of strategies and mechanisms states need to put in place to support child victims, how to conduct child friendly interviewing of victims, need to collect data and preventive strategies to protect children from sexual violence. Following the Roundtable, she was also invited to give specific recommendations for the development of a future project on children`s rights in Albania.
Last week, Vedran Rakinić, president of the association „Aikido for Children of Croatia“ visited Child and Youth Protection Center of Zagreb, regarding the theme of promoting nonviolence, which we approach from different theoretical and practical positions, but with very similar ideas.
Vedran Rakinić contacted Child and Youth Protection Center after a broadcast on Croatian radiotelevision HRT 4 where Mia Roje, psychologist from Center spoke about violence among the children. We learned that Aikido is a Japanese martial art that promotes nonviolence and safety, self-confidence, self-awareness, as well as strong spirit and health as the highest priorities in life. To avoid confusing the term “martial”, aikido, on one hand, does not include fighting with others, but is based on non-violent conflict resolution, which means creating new harmonious relationships of involved individuals where there are no winners or losers; on the other hand , the child is “fighting” in personal daily challenges to be better, more relaxed, more self-confident, and in negative circumstances, progressively positive and self-aware. Throughout the exercise the child learns how to deal better with family, friends, animals and the nature surrounding it. Aikido teaches how to solve aggressive situations and apply aikido principles without hurting anyone while at the same time protecting themselves and others.
To “Aikido for Children of Croatia” we wish luck in further work and hope for a successful cross-sectoral co-operation for the goals of child protection.